Wednesday, September 19, 2012

POSTMARK: CHRISTMAS - Kathy Kovach, Paige Winship Dooly, Paula Moldenhauer, Darlene Franklin - Three Free Books

Kathy Kovach, one of the authors of the collection, is with us today. Her co-authors are Darlene Franklin, Paige Winship Dooly, and Paula Moldenhauer.

Welcome, Kathy. How did your story for the collection come about?
Mine is titled, A Blessed Angel Came. I lived in Florida for ten years and Darlene Franklin knew that. She asked me if I’d like to write another story with that setting, (my other was Merely Players now in the compilation, Florida Weddings,) and I said yes. Christmas is a real town in Florida, so when I researched what was in that area, I found a fun little place called Jungle Adventures Nature Park, home of “Swampy”, the World’s Largest Gator. I thought it a good place to set a Christmas story. lol 

What are you reading right now?
Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer in paperback and Perfect by Harry Kraus, M.D. on Kindle.

What other books have you had published?
My latest is one I co-authored and self-published with Paula Moldenhauer. Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal is a contemporary with a historical frame. Here’s our tagline – A secret. A key. Much was buried when the Titanic went down, but now it’s time for resurrection. For fun stuff and ordering info, visit Besides the one story in Florida Weddings, I wrote all three stories in Oregon Weddings. Also Cookie Schemes in the novella anthology, Love Letters. All published with Barbour Publishing. For all my books visit my Amazon page at

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
All of our stories revolve around a fictitious Christmas festival. You take four different authors writing four different stories and you get four different interpretations of the setting. We had to adjust several things to pull our ideas into one solid festival.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
These are a great bunch of ladies. I know Paula and Darlene personally, and have a connection to Paige because she lives in NW Florida, not far from where my husband and I spent ten years stationed at Hurlburt and Eglin air force bases. I’m not sure I would call it an impact, but I did enjoy the experience.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I always like my names to mean something. The heroine is Gabriella Archer. Her character has an important message, much like the archangel Gabriel. But, unlike Gabriel, she is too shy to be effective. Enter David Levine. Levi means praise and so does Judah. Bethlehem, the city of David, is in Judah. See my thought process?

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
To step into the gift God gave you, whether you feel worthy or not. He will equip you for the task.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes, I’ve been a member since 2002 and have attended every conference and volunteered in various positions. I’m currently the Rocky Mountain Zone Director. Ten years ago, when I started writing for a career, I was told by three separate people about this wonderful organization for Christian fiction writers. It was then called American Christian Romance Writers. You know how it goes. A person needs to hear something at least three times before they act. That’s what happened with me, and I have never looked back. I love ACFW! It has taught me craft and helped me network with important people in the industry as well as given me a writing family.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
I have to pick only one? Probably to write my passion and not worry about the market. I have stepped outside the normal in some of my stories, a fortune cookie maker, a female charter boat captain, a talking parrot who plays cupid, and in each case have heard wonderful things from my readers. Often when a publisher releases several books a year under a certain division, (i.e. Heartsong Presents or the Barbour novellas,) the stories start to look alike. This is a common complaint among readers. I hope that I’ve been able to give them more variety.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Blogs – and

Welcome, Paige. (Readers, I'm always teasing Paige that her husband doesn't know how to spell Dooley.) How did your story for the collection come about?
I’ve always wanted to do an RV story and this one felt right for this set. Once we started tossing around ideas for the title, the story grew from there.

What are you reading right now?
A Love Inspired Suspense and a Love Inspired Historical. I love to read more than one story at a time—it depends on my mood what I pick up at any given time.

What other books have you had published?
Georgia Brides is my latest 3-in-1, and I have a couple more contemporary Heartsong Presents coming out in the next few months, Sweet Lullaby and Special Delivery.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
The hardest part for me is during the planning phase when we’re trying to figure out how much of a tie in we want with the other stories. It’s fun to revisit characters and locations in the different stories!

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
I had a great time working with Darlene, Paula and Kathy! I’ve worked with Darlene before, but this is the first time we’ve sold something together. I had fun getting to know Paula and Kathy as we went. The stories and ideas just flowed.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I keep on ongoing file of names that I like, and I start with that. If I don’t find what I like for a particular character, I’ll keep searching until I find the one that clicks. My names usually come up as I envision the characters and start to get to “know” them.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
We aren’t created to be alone. I think God wants us to have companionship with other people and definitely with Him. Trusting God to be there for us and trusting others to share our burdens helps us grow as people.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
I am a member. I like the fellowship and I like to keep in touch with other authors as we share about the industry.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Do it now! If you put off trying to write that next book (or starting the first book!) you’ll never get anywhere.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

Welcome, Paula. How did your story for the collection come about?
The collection was the brain child of our leader, Darlene Franklin, who saw a newspaper article about the postmaster in Christmas, Florida. When I joined the team already in place they had a list of ideas for the collection. I fell in love with the postmaster idea and combined it with an idea already suggested about a police officer who dressed up as the Grinch to raise money for charity. When Rick Stanton was born in my imagination he arrived retired with a caring heart bigger than Texas, broad policeman shoulders, quoting Dr. Seuss, and head over heels for Edie. I still don’t know how feisty Edie resisted him as long as she did. His charm really does come from the inside out—thus the title, You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch.

What are you reading right now?
Okay. This question makes me want to cry. I’m a voracious reader, but was in a car accident last June which caused a concussion, and it makes me sick to curl up with a novel! I feel like part of me was cut away! But I’ve survived in part by listening to books on tape. I spent most of my summer with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is so much better than the movies. I’m blown away.

What other books have you had published?
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch is my first published romance. One of the authors in this collection, Kathleen Kovach, and I co-authored my other published novel, which released in April. It’s called Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal. Your readers can find information on it in your blog archives, Lena, at . We so appreciated your willingness to tell them about it last spring. It’s a full-length contemporary novel with a historical frame based on a hundred-year-old secret from the RMS Titanic.
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
I wanted to be sure I connected my story in some way to the other stories and that I accurately represented the characters created by the other authors. Since we were all meeting different deadlines on other projects, it was sometimes crazy to know these kinds of things from each other because the stories weren’t all completed at the same time. But it worked, and we all were willing to adjust here and there to make the collection fit together.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
I have deep gratitude for Darlene and Paige’s willingness to take a chance on me, as I was an unpublished novelist when they invited me into this collection. My friend, Kathy, was on their team, and they experienced an opening. Kathy suggested me. We’re in the same critique group, and she felt my writing was strong enough for me to hold up my part of the collection. Darlene and Paige didn’t know as much about my writing, so I was incredibly honored to be welcomed into this circle of successful, seasoned authors. There were a couple of times Kathy had to talk me down when I got nervous. I wanted so much to do well that I freaked out here and there. But my Kathy K. was there to remind me that I really did know what I was doing.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I actually grew up in the south and my character, Rick, talked to me with an accent. I decided he was raised in Tallahassee since central Florida doesn’t necessary have that southern flair. As he talked he reminded me of some distant cousins back home who spoke with a strong accent. Their names were Rick and Stanton. Thus Rick Stanton was born. I have no idea how Edie was named. She just walked onto the pages knowing her name, I guess!

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Part of Edie’s journey is that she’s been through a lot of hard knocks which made her protective of her heart and afraid to believe life can be better than it has been. When I got this contract I’d just come out of several years of intense struggle, including the near death of my husband. I think I was exploring this for myself—how to hope again, believe again that life can sparkle despite multiple set-backs. My novella is a joyful little story and perhaps my own statement of faith in the belief that God truly has an abundant life for us, not just a life of survival.

There’s also a scene my husband suggested that happened between Rick and a secondary character. I love this scene! It shares a little of the truth of the loving Father-heart of God. One of my personal greatest discoveries is that Father God isn’t a demanding authority who is always disappointed in my imperfections, but a God who loves me just as I am even as He empowers me to be more like Christ. It made me weep when my character discovered this for herself. I pray there are readers out there who will find this truth in my story and make it their own.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Absolutely! Becoming involved in ACFW was one of the very best decisions I made as an unpublished author. It provided me with some of the most valuable learning and networking opportunities out there as well as with a place to find support and encouragement. I don’t know if I would have made it without the love and prayers of the ACFW prayer loop. I got my contract at the 2011 ACFW national conference in front of everyone and couldn’t help but feel this first fiction contract was a collective achievement, not just mine, because so many ACFW friends had impacted my journey. ACFW was such an impact on me that I’ve chosen to give back, hoping to empower others new to the industry. I served several years as a local chapter president and right now I’m the Colorado Coordinator for ACFW.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
This is hard ’cause so many have given me such great guidance and encouragement, but the first thing that springs to mind isn’t so much human advice as something the Lord gave me after I finished my first (still unpublished) novel about ten years ago. I was euphoric at the accomplishment and totally committed to my story. I asked the Lord if it would ever be published. He never answered me other than to point me to Psalm 32:8: “I will guide you on the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Hanging onto His Sovereignty through the often difficult waters of finding a publishing niche kept me sane. I watch many unpublished authors strive and worry and grieve and stress. Of course I did some of that, too. We are emotional creatures. But my underlying truth was always that verse, and I clung to the knowledge that God would do what was best when He deemed it best. My job was to learn the industry, to develop craft, etc., but that elusive contract was up to Him.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I’d love to connect with readers at my author page on Facebook, and on my personal website,

Thank you, Darlene, for coming up with this idea and putting together this team. Can't wait to read this book. I just finished reading your book, A Brides Rogue in Roma, Texas. I loved the novel. I look forward to our interview with you in November. 

How did your story for the collection come about?
A few years ago I heard of a family who sent leftover Christmas cards to random people in the phone book. Since we knew we wanted all of stories to have connections to the post office, I decided to borrow that idea. Ever since the death of my heroine’s husband, she has sent cards to military personnel around the world. In my book, one of the soldiers she has befriended over the years seeks her out after he retires.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Preacher’s Bride by Laurie Kingery. It’s a must-read, and I don’t say that lightly. I am dabbling in a book called The World of Downtown Abbey since my son brought me five nonfiction books to read and not one of my beloved novels!

What other books have you had published?
I won’t list them all, since the number now approaches the two dozen mark!
A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, was released at the same time as Postmark: Christmas; and I have two books in the Texas Trails series, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Waiting to hear if the editor wants to buy it? No, that’s true of any writing. Probably the hardest part is completing a group project, which has overlapping elements, when we are all work with different time tables. Paula had questions before I started mine, and Kathy had questions after I finished mine, and so forth. But as long as the authors communicate—which this group did—it’s not too bad.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Paige and I have made several joint proposals, but this was the first time one sold. So it was a dream come true for both of us, and she was as much fun to work with as I hoped. Kathy, Paula know each other from way back in Colorado, and writing with them cemented a friendship begun when we were all writing neophytes.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I was working on this proposal when I taught a workshop on naming characters!  I used one of the class’s suggestions, Michael, for my heroine’s son.

The heroine’s name required special thought. She is known as “Randi Pearson” but she signs her Christmas cards as “Aranda H.” – her given first name and the initial of her maiden name. It takes the hero some time to put “Aranda H.” and “Randi Pearson” together.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Since her husband’s death, Randi put her life on hold. She’s forgotten about romance and raised their son, now a troubled teenager. Mike is about to graduate from high school and Troy appears in her life.

How do we respond when one chapter of our life ends and we’re not sure what the next one holds in store? Randi has to trust God to light her path one step at a time.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Absolutely! In my opinion, it is the professional organization for writers of Christian fiction. It’s also a digital meeting place, learning forum, and support system.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Aside from the basic, read, read, read and write, write, write, I’ll share a quote from James Michener that made me nod in recognition: “I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.” An author must be persistent, and she must be willing to rewrite. Talent doesn’t matter as much as perseverance and a willingness to learn from your mistakes.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I am on Facebook. You can also follow my blog at I run weekly contests for free copies of my books. 

Thank you, Kathy, Paige, Paula and Darlene, for visiting with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Postmark: Christmas (Romancing America) - paperback
Postmark: Christmas (Romancing America) - 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 Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Katie said...

Please enter me! It sounds like a wonderful book :) I'm from NC.

Katie G.

Paula said...

Good luck, Katie! I hope you enjoy our stories!

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Katie! Thanks for stopping by.

Jo said...

I would love to get entered

Jo from Southern Arizona

Darlene Franklin said...

Lena, thanks for the plug for A Bride's Rogue. :)

Darlene Franklin said...

Jo, thanks for coming by!

Lourdes said...

Book sounds great please enter me.

Lourdes in Dix Hills Long Island

Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela from KY

Edna said...

I would love to win one of these books, it has been a while since I have entered anything, I follow you

mamat2730 at charter dot net

Writers and Readers said...

OH my. If I win one of these books, it'd surely make my day!! In fact, I know it would! They all look! Interesting. Inspiring. Intriguing!

Kathy Kovach... said...

Thank you, Lena, for hosting us. I hope the winners -- and subsequently non-winners who will buy the book ;) -- will enjoy our stories as much as we did writing them.

apple blossom said...

sounds like a wonderful Christmas read love to win thanks

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Darlene Franklin said...

Kendra, I know who you are, but add your name and town of residence, sweetheart! Apple Blossom, great to see you again!

Barb said...

I would love to win a copy!

Unknown said...

Here's another novel i would LOVE to win for my strong, courageous mother. She loves the four-in-one novels, and i am having a hard time finding ones she doesn't have yet. Thanks for the chance

Marianne from northern Alberta


Sparks of Ember said...

Sounds like a great book. How awful, Paula - is it something that should heal in time? I hope so!

from the Black Hills of SD.

Darlene Franklin said...

Marianne, your mother sounds like a wonderful woman!

Linda Kish said...

I love Christmas anthologies


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

scottsgal said...

I'm so looking forward to all the new christmas style books out soon
cheryl in IL

Norma S said...

Hi, thank you for giving me a chance to win "Postmark:CHRISTMAS", i think it will be a great book with the authors,collection.Have a great week and God bless you beautiful ladies. Norma from Ohio

Mary Preston said...

Christmas stories would be among my favorites. POSTMARK CHRISTMAS looks like such a wonderful read.

Mary P


Judy said...

Postmark Christmas is going to be a great read I just know it. I love reading novella's! I feel you get the joy of reading new authors all in one book!
Judy B from Indiana

Patsy said...

I really enjoy reading Christmas stories. I know the authors did a great job with this book.

from South MS


Nancee said...

I love Christmas fiction. these are new authors to me, but I'd love an opportunity to win this book. Thanks for offering it.
Nancee in Michigan

Darlene Franklin said...

How fun to hear we are "new" authors to several of you! Kathy, Paige and I have both published multiple books, and Paula is on her way in fiction. I hope you become better acquainted with us and our work. :)

Abigail Mitchell said...

Please enter me! Thanks and God Bless!

Blanch, N.C.

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Enter me!
God Bless!

Melody said...

It has to be awesome to 'control your story world' by picking the names, storyline, making them go this way and that way!

Darlene Franklin said...

Melody, It is--until the characters try to take over. That happens to the best of us from time to time.

Judy Cooper said...

It would be a treat to win this book. Please enter my name, Judy C. in Louisiana.

Merry said...

I love to see how books like Postmark: Christmas tie the story lines together. Please add me to the drawing!
Merry in TX

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Darlene Franklin said...

It's always great to meet new readers!

rubynreba said...

I love to read Christmas books. This sounds very enjoyable.
Beth from IA

Shopgirl said...

This sounds really cute! I'm in MN.

Diana Gardner said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! Portsmouth, VA

Darlene Franklin said...

Beth, Veronica, Diana: Thanks for stopping by!

Cindy W. said...

I love Christmas and Christmas books. I would love to win a copy of POSTMARK CHRISTMAS, thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W. from Indiana


Kristie said...

I usually don't read anthologies. But I LOVE Christmas books. All the women sound so nice. I would want to be their friends. I think it would be hard to coordinate stories with so many different people. And especially to have similar writing styles. Not identical, but similar enough. Kristie from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Darlene Franklin said...

Kristie, I never gave a thought to similar writing styles--interesting idea! And Cindy, thanks for stopping by.

Paula Moldenhauer said...

Lady Saotome,
Thanks so much for your kind comment! I am improving. It's been roughly 100 days since the accident and I'm learning that the Lord has something in this time for me. I DID read something this weekend. I put it on my Kindle and made the font really big--and I chose a shorter book. When I finished the room around me was blurred, but I was excited to be able to read even if afterwards things were fuzzy around me.

Nancee said...

It's about that time of year to break out the Christmas books. I'd love to win a copy of Postmark Christmas! Thank you for offering this giveaway!
Nancee in Michigan