Friday, November 14, 2014

WINTER BRIDES - Denise Hunter, Deborah Raney, Betsy St. Amant - One Free Book

Dear Reeders, we have a fun interview today. What could be more fun than a year of weddings? That’s exactly what Zondervan did this year, have a wedding novella per month. Now those novella’s are coming out in four collections. The first collection is Winter Brides, which released this month. And we have three of my favorite authors right here today.

Okay, how did this collection come about?
The team at Zondervan/HarperCollins had the idea and issued invitations to a dozen authors for the series.

Are these stories connected in some way?
The stories are connected by the wedding theme––each one has a wedding that takes place in the month of the title.

How does your story fit in with the others?
Each story is completely different, and not connected to the others except by the bridal theme.

Who chose the setting for this collection?
Each author chose her own setting.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
DENISE: Layla from A December Bride, is a home stager—she furnishes houses with props prior to putting them on the market. Just like the “before” version of her houses, Layla feels deep down as if she’s not quite enough. I hope readers come away with a fresh sense of their true value.

DEB: The theme of A January Bride is that true love can happen a second time around, and God can redeem even the tragedies of life. It sounds like a rather heavy theme, but actually the story has more humor than any book I’ve ever written. I love how comedy softens tragedy in a very tender way in this story.

BETSY: A February Bride has a strong theme of restoration—both literally in the sense of a car being restored and a wedding dress remade, but also emotionally, in regards to the heroine’s internal struggle. I hope readers find a piece of their hearts restored after reading this novella.

Readers want to get to know the authors they read. Can you tell us three things my readers probably don’t know about you?
1. I play drums
2. I love to travel the world.
3. I can stand on my tiptoes. Now, there’s a valuable skill.

1. Much as I admire beautifully polished nails, I rarely get a manicure because my hands are always in garden dirt, refinishing furniture, baking, or typing.  
2. I’ve become an orchid collector! My new office has a southern exposure that has proven to be magic for growing orchids.
3. I play the piano by ear. When I took lessons as a kid, I lost my ability to play by ear, so I opted out of lessons after 3 years, and play for my own enjoyment. When our kids were small, the piano served as a wonderful stress reliever. My kids all knew if Mom was hammering out “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” on the piano, they’d better steer clear!

1. I could eat chips and salsa quite happily ever day of the year.
2. I know every single word to “Ice Ice Baby” and have rapped it on stage before.
3. When I was eleven, I was nearly kidnapped in a bookstore.

Those are things even I never knew about you three. Please give us the first page of your story.
DENISE––A December Bride
Layla O’Reilly squeezed into a corner of the bustling kitchen of Cappy’s Pizzeria and leaned into the receiver.

“No, no, no. You cannot cancel on me now. The wedding’s in five hours. Five hours, Cooper.” She wound the spiral cord around her fist, a sweat breaking out on her forehead.

“Layla, I—”

“Don’t even tell me you have to work. I asked you over a month ago. You said you got the night off.”

“If you’d just let me talk. I have strep, Layla. I’m contagious. I have to be on an antibiotic for at least twenty-four hours before—”

“I’ll risk it.” She didn’t care if he had malaria. She was going to this wedding, and she was going with a date. Nothing said See, I’ve moved on like an attractive man draped on your arm.

“I feel like trash. I have a 102-degree fever and barbed wire in my throat.”

Layla took a deep breath, the familiar aromas of garlic and oregano filling her nose. She couldn’t believe this was happening. “Now that you mention it, you don’t sound so good.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know tonight’s a big deal.”

She closed her eyes. “It’s not your fault. The strep or the wedding.” She banged the receiver against her temple once, twice, three times. “I’ll bring you chicken soup tomorrow.”

DEB––A January Bride
Glancing at the chaos around her, Madeleine Houser set her coffee mug on the dining room table and shoved another packing carton out of her path. It didn’t budge. She bent over and attempted to read the smudged label. Kitchen—good china. Oh. Good thing she’d resisted the temptation to kick the box.

Maddie looked into the kitchen where cupboards gaped open, hinges naked. The cabinet doors were lined up against the wall in the empty breakfast nook. Even after four days, the smell of wet enamel stung her nostrils. The flooring couldn’t be laid until the electrician fixed the mess he’d made of the wiring. And she didn’t dare put her china in the cupboards until all that was finished.

What had her sister gotten her into? Kate’s husband had been transferred to Ohio, but with their mother in the nursing home here in Clayton, Kate had begged her to leave her beloved New York loft and move into Kate and Jed’s house on Harper Street while it was being refurbished to sell. “You can write anywhere, Maddie,” Kate had pled in her best big-sister voice. “Besides, you can sublet the loft, and just think what you’ll save on the rent.”

So here she was in Clayton, Kansas—the middle of nowhere—proving quite soundly that one could not write just anywhere.

Lugging the carton of china out of the way, she wove her way through the maze of boxes and poured another cup of coffee. She blew a long strand of dishwater-blond hair out of her eyes and slid into a dining room chair. In the midst of the piles of books and boxes and unsorted mail strewn across the table, her laptop computer glared accusingly at her.

BETSY––A February Bride
Allie Andrews couldn’t breathe, and it had nothing to do with the yards of tulle wrapped around her waist. Or the fact that the air conditioner in the crowded small-town, southern church was on the fritz again, resulting in the sporadic waving of wedding programs in front of flushed faces she’d seen when she peeked through the sanctuary window ten minutes earlier. No, her lack of breath had everything to do with the ticking clock. The literal one on the wall and the figurative one thumping an unsteady rhythm in her heart.


A bead of sweat trickled between her shoulder blades, sure to dampen the silky ivory fabric that cascaded down her back like a white-chocolate waterfall gone wrong. So wrong.


She twisted the stem of her rose bouquet and paced the faded orange carpet inside the bride’s room, her thoughts churning along with her breakfast. She slipped one heel out of her three-inch pump, anxiety tying her stomach into a knot that would make a Boy Scout proud.


It wouldn’t take much to toe off one shoe, then the other. Dig her painstakingly pedicured feet into the carpet for traction, grab the hem of this cursed dress, and just…bolt.

Better now than later, right?

Marcus. She couldn’t do that to Marcus.

But wasn’t marrying him doing him worse?

She strode to the window overlooking the gravel parking lot and stared at the onslaught of cars baking in the late September sun. It was a good turnout. Looked as if half of Beaux Creek had shown up. There were probably loads of gifts on the covered table in the reception hall by now—a forever-sentimental collection of floral-patterned china she’d rarely use, gift cards to home repair stores, and likely more than one toaster and blender. All gifts she’d have to return if she let her toes touch the carpet.

But would dividing them up in a divorce property settlement however many years down the road be any easier?

She started to turn away, then squinted at her reflection, seeing skin at her shoulder where there should be lace. Oh no…yes. She twisted for a better view. A tiny tear, right on the seam of the sleeve. Her heart stammered.

I can’t wait to read the rest of each story. Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I’m very active on Facebook and love to connect with my readers there:

Blog: I blog with 9 other authors at
I also have a blog of novelists’ garden spots at
Twitter: @authordebraney

I’m on facebook with an author page of Betsy St. Amant and also Twitter @betsystamant

Thank you, Denise, Deb, and Betsy, for sharing this book with us. I know each of my readers will want to read this collection.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Winter Brides -
Winter Brides: A Year of Weddings Novella Collection - Amazon
Winter Brides: A Year of Weddings Novella Collection - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Sierra Faith said...

I have seen these before and they look so good!!! Thanks for the giveaway! :)


Danielle Hull said...

Thank you! Danielle in Indiana :)

Melanie Backus said...

I am all in on this one!

Melanie Backus, TX

A J Hawke said...

Thanks for a chance at The Winter Brides. Each of these writers are worth reading.

A J Hawke

kandi723 said...

Thank you for the chance to win!
Kandi Turner, Montana (winter is already here ~ brrrr!)

Linda Kish said...

Okay, I'm hooked. Count me in, please.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Britney Adams said...

What a fun interview! This collection sounds fantastic and I would love to be a winner! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

Britney Adams, TX

seashore said...

Love the series and these authors!
New Jersey

Melody said...

What a perfect book to read in this artic blast!

Melody from Donna, TX

Unknown said...

This collection looks like a cozy, curl up in a fuzzy blanket kind of collection! Thank you for the giveaway!
Kelly Y in central VA
kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

Betsy St. Amant said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone!! :) We are so excited about this compilation. And I personally was really excited about the cover. Zondervan did GOOD :)

sm said...

I would LOVE to win and read this collection! I have been watching this year of weddings and they look like a great read. Sm. California.

Lanna Webb said...

I'm a Texas girl - born, bred, & boastful ;). And I love a good book. Can't wait to dive into these!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for thechance to win!
Beth Gillihan
I live in Montana.

Anonymous said...

would love love love to win. Angela in KY

Anonymous said...

Southwest Louisiana

I enjoy wedding stories and the winter season.

Casey Heim said...

I would love to read this! Thanks for the chance.

McKinney, TX

Shannah Mauney said...

I plan on starting the "Year of Weddings" collection in January! This would be perfect!

Shannah, NC

Deborah Raney said...

I loved reading Denise and Betsy's answers to the interview questions! Thanks so much for hosting us, Lena, and giving your readers a chance to win a copy of WINTER BRIDES. And I couldn't agree more, Betsy. I LOVE the covers of these books!

Charlyn said...

Looking forward to reading these. Would love to win a collection. I used to direct weddings and have helped video many. I've seen quite a variety, including the mishaps. Always told the bride, "we will make plans for all the details, but no matter what happens, we'll make sure you are married before you leave!" :-)

Teresa said...

Would love to read these books!

Anonymous said...

My sisters and I would all enjoy this book. Two of my sisters collect inspirational romance novels out the roof! And all four of us love a good comedy!
J.C. -Indiana-

Deanna Stevens said...

All such beautiful brides !
deanna in Nebr.

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, This was an awesome interview with Betsy, Deborah and Denise. Love is in the air with this collection. :)

Caryl in TEXAS

Granny's Attic said...

I rarely get a chance to read this type of story, so would really like to give them a try. lisajcowell(at)cs(dot)com in Ohio

Mary Preston said...

What a marvellous collection.

Mary P


Donna Brookmyer said...

This sounds so good! I'd love to win. I'm from IL.

Cindy W. said...

I would love to win a copy of Winter Brides. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Judy said...

What a fun interview. I loved the part of the 3 things we didn't know about each interesting! Winter Brides is a book I'd be thrilled to win!

Judy B from Indiana

apple blossom said...

I was a winter bride. love to win thanks for the chance to win

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

rubynreba said...

This is really a wonderful collection!
Beth from IA

Ann Holden said...

That was a great interview with the authors of Winter Brides. Fall has slipped effortlessly into winter here in Minnesota. A good book and a cup of hot chocolate are welcomed friends on long, dark, and cold nights.

Anonymous said...

they look soooo good!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Sydney Harries GA

Charlotte Kay said...

Ooh ooh ooh!
Would LOVE to win this book!!!!
Thanks for the chance! !
Blessings and Smiles :)
Charlotte Kay

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

The peek into these stories was such a gift! Love it! I can't wait to find out what happens!

Prescott, AZ

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great winter read!
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Anne Payne said...

I recently read A November Bride by Beth Vogt and loved it! Thanks for the opportunity to read these novellas from the collection, too.

Anne, rural NC

Jennifer Hibdon said...

Thanx for the giveaway! I enjoy reading the works of these authors.
good interview, it was fun reading the three things readers don't know about each. Jennifer Lubbock, Texas

Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading WINTER BRIDES by Denise Hunter, Deborah Raneyand Betsy St. Amant . Thanks for the giveaway!

Rachel Rittenhouse said...

These books sound so amazing! I think I'm going to read each one per month...if I have that much self-control. ;)


Melody said...

Thank you for a wonderful interview with some of my favorite ladies!

Donna, TX

kam110476 said...

Well gosh, I'm on pins and needles now anxious to hear how Layla, Maddie, and Allie's wedding predicaments turned out! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Winter Brides!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Jackie Tessnair said...

Great review!Jackie Tessnair,N.C.

Jackie Smith said...

I am so excited about the Year of Weddings books and want to read all of them! Thanks for the giveaway!


Aerykah said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I have read the first book and am looking forward to reading the others! :)

Aerykah in Oklahoma

Deborah Raney said...

I'm getting ready to take my Sunday afternoon nap, but just wanted to say thanks again for hosting us, Lena. And thanks to all who've signed up so far!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Patty said...

I've not read any of the novellas in this collections, but there are some great authors featured. I've especially enjoyed Deb's books over the years.

Patty in SC

RW1010 said...

3 VERY interesting authors! I love their answers!! Their books sound fabulous too! Thanks for sharing!
Robin in NC

Jackie said...

All of these stories sound great. Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks from Kentucky!

Abigail Richmond said...

Wow, looks awesome!!! Please enter me!

Blanch, NC

Cynthia A. Lovely said...

Looks like a great collection!

-from NY

Anonymous said...

would love to win this book!! Shelia from MS

Frances Cavallo said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity to win the book!!! I would be so truly blessed to win this book! God Bless You and Good Luck to Everyone!

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Lovely interview, ladies! Sounds like a great read. :)

Anna in FL.